Funny how writing projects take on a life of their own. I had originally intended babycocoapup to be a blog for my family, a place to keep some stories of Cadel and new motherhood, and record a few recipes while I was at it. Over the past year and a half, babycocoapup has grown and evolved and has become its own creature, as babies will do, begging for my ever-limited time and attention. I started several drafts of posts that never came to be–New Year’s resolutions, Travis’ birthday plus cake recipe, an afternoon snack post. I thought about abandoning babycocoapup altogether. But after being absent for so long, I missed it–the writing, the recipes, the time to process, the opportunity to connect with friends and family. So I am happy to announce that I’m back. I missed you, babycocoapup.
When you have a baby, people will tell you all manner of half truths–things that may have been true for a particular person, or someone she knew, or maybe no one at all; maybe she just read it in a book; or he heard someone say it at work; or someone’s friend’s mom said it was true. Oh, the lies. The lies. Are there any other circumstances in which people lie so freely and often as about life with young children? I think one of the biggest has got to be “it gets easier.” I can’t remember who told me this (not that I would want to incriminate him or her here on my blog), but this simply isn’t true. I think some of the confusion here comes from the misconception that more sleep at night automatically means everything is easier. While I agree that sleep does tend to make daily life run much more smoothly, I still think it is easier to breastfeed an infant in the middle of the night than it is to chase a wild toddler around a playground during the daylight hours, trying to keep him from poking out other kids’ eyes or hurling himself off the top of the play structure. So no, it doesn’t get easier. It gets more complicated, more fun, more exciting, more interesting, more challenging, more tiring, maybe even more rewarding, but not in any way easier. Not that I’d want it to be easier. Ok, maybe a little. Some days. Ok, most days. But no mom really wants her job to be easy, does she? That would be us feel replaceable, unimportant, like someone else could do this gig as well as we could. And they can’t! (Can they?)
Anyway, my point is that parents, especially those who stay at home with their children, have to make increasingly more difficult decisions about how to spend their “free” time. Babies sleep a lot; toddlers sleep less. And less. And less. Especially as far as daytime sleeping is concerned. So no more naps spent musing and typing, making muffins, smiling over folding bitty baby clothes, then tucking them neatly and quietly into dresser drawers. Ah, those days… They were all too quickly replaced with frantic scampering about the house–cleaning, cooking, organizing, folding–during ever-shorter naps (often thwarted by our mail carrier’s unbelievably impeccable timing,) and before I realized it, any extra-curriculars, like writing, mulling, planning, muffins, fell sadly by the wayside. What’s more, I found myself having to constantly fight what I wanted to do with the little time I have–fight sleepiness, fight the obligation I feel to always clean first, fight the inefficiency of trying to do too many things but finishing nothing, fight the selfish and societally propagated compulsion to work outside the home. Then I met a mom who had just recently quit her part-time job; when she explained the reasoning for her decision, she said that she was stopping doing what made her feel important and was instead doing what is important in her life right now.
Her words resonated with me; I heard them play over and over in my head (…doing what is important…). And I let go of my aforementioned thankless but still in some ways satisfying part time job, like a helium balloon into the sky. Liberating but bittersweet. This decision has opened the door for more and better changes: I’m getting more organized, spending less time on Twitter and Instagram, taking stock, cleaning house, doing some weeding–in the garden and elsewhere. And so here I am, back at the beginning again, in more ways than one (more on that later). Like coming home, it’s good to be back.
We’re into pancakes in a major way these early summer days, thanks to a book by the brilliant Eric Carle entitled, Pancakes Pancakes. Cadel enjoys his with “tawbee” jam, like the boy in the book. I like mine with butter and maple syrup. If you want to make a big batch, the batter will keep in the fridge for a couple of days but the cakes will be less fluffy.
For these pancakes, I soak the flour overnight to help neutralize phytic acids in the flour that make it difficult for our bodies to digest–this is a technique I learned from Nourishing Traditions, a hallmark book in the traditional and real food movement. My family does notice a difference when they eat soaked versus un-soaked grains; plus, I think the small amount of fermentation that may occur adds great flavor to the final product. This is especially true if you add soaked oats to the recipe (see variation below). You can also try using buttermilk in place of the yogurt and milk.
Basic delicious pancakes for two
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
Stir the flour, yogurt, and milk together, cover, and let sit overnight. The next morning, whisk in:
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Heat a griddle, brush with butter, and pour 3-4tbsp of batter per pancake. Cook until bubbles form all over the surface, then flip and cook about one minute on the other side, or until golden.
Serve hot with butter, jam, and maple syrup.
Makes about 6. Serves 2. Can easily be doubled.
Oatmeal variation: add about 1/4-1/2 cup of oatmeal that has been soaked overnight in enough water to fully moisten and a couple teaspoons of whey (drained from yogurt) or lemon juice.